Here is a clever way to rid your classroom of the "I Can't" and replace him with the positives "I Can", "I Will", or even "I'm Going To Right Away". Hold a funeral for "I Can't". It will be a memorable activity for your students and help them focus on what they CAN do, rather than what they can't. You can keep the headstone hanging in your room as a constant reference and when students begin to utter the words, "I can't...", you can point to the sign and say, "He's dead, remember?" Students must then rephrase their statement with "I Can" or "I Will".
Things to Prepare:
- cardboard box made to look like a coffin
- cardboard or butcher paper headstone with epitaph.
- outfit to wear- dress all in black, maybe wear a hat with a veil
1. Have students make a list of all the things they think they can't do.
2. Put their list inside a cardboard box made to look like a coffin. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Cover with paper and write "Here Lies "I Can't" and the date.
3. Create a headstone with an epitaph (see above photo).
4. March students outside for a funeral. Have two students be the pall bearers and carry the box with the "I Can't" papers outside. Remember to dress all in black.
5. Gather students in a circle around the "I Can't" coffin.
6. Read eulogy. Be dramatic. Pass out tissues. Trust me, you will hear giggles from your students, but they will remember this!
A Sample Eulogy:
"Friends, we gather here today to honor the memory of "I Can't". While he was with us here on earth, he touched the lives of everyone, some more than others. His name unfortunately has been spoken in every public building- school, city hall, state capitol, and yes, even The White House. We have provided "I Can't" with a final resting place and a headstone that contains his epitaph. He is survived by his brothers and sisters, "I Can", "I Will", and "I'm Going To Right Away". They are not as well known as their famous relative and are certainly not as strong and powerful yet. Perhaps some day, with your help, they will make an even bigger mark on the world. May he rest in peace."7. Dig a small hole and bury the coffin.
8. After the funeral, march back to the classroom. You can hold a "wake" with juice, cookies, etc...
9. Read aloud one of the following books: Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss or Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman. Discuss all the things you CAN do. In the book Amazing Grace, the main character is told she'll never be able to be the lead in the school play because she's a girl and because she's African American. She practices for the part anyway and proves everyone wrong. It's a great story that shows students how someone overcomes obstacles.
10.Have students make a list of things they CAN do. Have them keep it in their journal, or hang their list up someplace in your classroom.
R.I.P. "I Can't"